Guerilla marketing surprises. Not only the consumers. Basically, even the entrepreneurs are always surprised how effective this form of marketing can be. But in order to take this step at all, the supposed courage for the unconventional is necessary. Otherwise, a guerilla campaign can be planned like any other in advance. One who understands their target groups well knows to impress them. A guerilla SMS marketing strategy also combines exciting aspects from the entrepreneur’s point of view: a manageable budget, clearly defined data protection in comparison to social media and, above all, efficiency in terms of accessibility.
What does guerilla SMS have that Social Media doesn’t?
Quite clearly: reach. And that means high-quality customer segmentation and targeted placement of the campaign. While in social networks endless ads are placed in order to get any reaction from the consumers, the SMS ends up exactly where it belongs: With the user who is really interested in it. Not an easy task, especially in guerilla marketing. Usually the recipients of the message don’t even know that they are interested in it immediately. That’s what makes this way of marketing so exciting but also so unpredictable. Nevertheless, anyone trying out unconventional strategies on social media platforms risks losing them somewhere in the multitude of offers. Attracting attention and being irresistibly interesting are the goals of many. Respect for those who make it.
Unfortunately, the great advantage of authenticity in social channels has also suffered greatly in recent years. Users have long been prepared for the fact that behind every post, tutorial and photo there may be only an advertisement that wants to sell something.
In the SMS sector, on the other hand, the surprise effect is still relatively large – provided you do it right.
1st Strategy: The favourable opportunity
Because the campaign should not reach as many contacts as possible, half of which are already an unsuitable target group, the contact database is first cleaned up. Customer segmentation, group management and number validation belong to the high standard of every SMS campaign. This allows invalid phone numbers to be sorted out, interest groups to be grouped together and targeted accordingly.
Ultimately, SMS Marketing fits the budget much better. Providers such as sms77 even offer discounted conditions to major customers with a certain monthly sales volume. Now it is up to the marketing department to pick up the segmented customer group at the ideal contact point of the customer journey.
Market research company AdTag launched a one-week campaign in Singapore to make a name for itself. Human billboards roamed the streets, each spreading a different short code that was to be sent by SMS. There was daily cash to be won – regional and local media reported on the campaign.
More revealing, however, were the more than 20,000 SMS messages received, which AdTag was then able to evaluate in order to find out at what time of day most passers-by are and become active. This is one of the company’s main tasks – as well as cost-effective advertising measures. Both were successfully realized with this guerilla SMS campaign.
2nd Strategy: The right time
Another decisive advantage compared to other advertising measures: SMS can be pre-programmed precisely to the minute. The parameters are quickly configured via SMS gateway with API connection. Even international campaigns can be optimally controlled by the time-delayed sending of SMS.
Marketing via SMS can also be adapted to a specific event. In contrast to instant messengers, which depend on Internet access, radio transmission hardly ever suffers from delay. This creates flexibility in your guerilla campaign.
The French magazine L’Argus writes articles about the safety and financing of vehicles. For a special guerilla campaign, cars were parked on heavily trafficked roads, packed to the top with supposedly genuine banknotes. As an advertising message on top stood: “Don’t put all your money into your car – read L´Argus”.
If that wasn’t striking enough, an integrated Bluetooth transmitter sent a text message directly to nearby mobile phones, pointing out the campaign. Because this mostly concerned passengers in cars driving past, the message had to arrive in time before the car would have already driven past.
3rd Strategy: The fast number
Print products, outdoor advertising, online advertising – they all have to wait for the consumer’s attention. However, an SMS arrives directly, is displayed immediately and is usually read by the recipient within less than 3 minutes. Hardly any other advertising channel is that fast. Thanks to the nationwide infrastructure of transmission networks, there are hardly any so-called dead spots.
If you are in a hurry with your message, an SMS campaign is a good choice. Spontaneous actions are just as easy as well-prepared ones, which are to be spread however very fast.
In Australia the television station TEN Australia used a combination of advertising poster and SMS guerilla campaign to promote the new Big Brother season. Bluetooth transmitters were installed at several bus stops as well as the matching poster.
While passengers were waiting for the bus and their Bluetooth was activated, they received an ominous message by SMS. An anonymous sender wrote “Im watching u. Ur at the bus stop on St George’s tce, out front of Boost Juice.”
Kind of creepy, isn’t it? A few seconds later a second SMS released the probably slightly insecure passenger from their anxiety and advertised the start of the season. “Big Brother is watching you!” was implemented conceptually here.
4th Strategy: Two-way communication
Reactions to the campaign are not only desired, but extremely important on the part of businesses. Each feedback, each evaluation, each criticism gives information about the success of the campaign, how the image is actually seen and how well the products and achievements arrive at the target group and/or where there is room for improvement. The newspaper advertisement for example is simply put aside, without the advertiser noticing whether the reaction was positive, negative or complete disinterest.
In social media, at least there is the possibility to post comments, to set Likes or other forms of rating. Two-Way-Messaging offers recipients the opportunity to react directly to the received message. Because their response can only be read by the sender itself and not by all the other members of a Facebook group or by the general public, certain topics are addressed more honestly. This gives the company truly evaluable information.
Virgin Mobile, an Australian mobile network operator, deliberately bored TV viewers with an extremely stupid commercial. A classic nerd was shown holding up an advertising board. A week later the same spot was broadcast again, but with an excuse for how monotonous it was and the reference to the Virgin Mobile website. Here the viewers were offered to cut an exciting spot for themselves.
There were several options to choose from to make the decision easier. Favourites could be selected via the hotline. The result: a rather bizarre performance in which the now well-known advertising medium now holds the sign nearly naked, is threatened by a nun swinging a chainsaw, with cool disco music playing. It also brought around 60,000 new customers for Virgin Mobile.
5th Strategy: The relaxed marketing-analysis
Well, how nice it is when the SMS campaign is set up fully automatically and works on its own. Once switched on, marketing strategists can sit back and relax, evaluate data and track success. Each individual guerilla SMS can be monitored via a delivery report. In addition, there are informative analysis tools and graphically illustrated statistics that can be used to target the next campaign even more specifically.
Marc Ecko is a brand clothing company whose clientele is predominantly associated with the hip hop scene and graffiti culture. As a special advertising measure, an LCD screen was developed that connects to the smartphones of passers-by via Bluetooth. Such connections can be verified by SMS on request. The configuration is set automatically.
Ambitious guerilla artists could now select color and spray head on their own device and “spray” or transfer their motif onto the LCD canvas: Customer experience in a different way. Without the campaign requiring much support, Marc Ecko attracted attention, improved their image and strengthened customer loyalty.
Many of these strategies make do with Bluetooth or Wifi hotspots. Due to the new general data protection regulation, some guerilla SMS campaigns may face great legal challenges, but by no means the end. The possibilities and ideas are there, the success of guerilla marketing is undisputed.
Header picture by VictorHuang via iStock.com